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The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Writing Systems



The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Writing Systems

Florian Coulmas

ISBN: 978-0-631-21481-6 March 1999 Wiley-Blackwell 636 Pages


This is an encyclopedia of writing systems, scripts and orthographies of all the world's major languages, past and present. It provides both a fully illustrated description of over 400 writing systems and an account of the study of writing in many different disciplines, from anthropology to psychology.


List of Abbreviations and Notional Conventions.

Encyclopedic entries A-Z.


"Florian Coulmas provides a coherent and sophisticated interpretation of the forms and functions of written language. And he shows how important the development of writing systems has been in the development of linguistic description." Michael Stubbs, University of Trier

"This book offers a thorough modern coverage of the writing systems of the world. I believe that it will quickly become a standard reference work in its field." Henry Rogers, University of Toronto

"What makes this encyclopedia a great whole is the synthesis of all the little fascinating things about writing systems, scripts, and orthographies, which Coulmas differentiates in clear conceptual terms...The reviewer recommends it to the specialist and the layman enthusiastically and with no reservations whatsoever." P.G. Patel, University of Ottawa

" A good work of this kind is an indispensible reference tool for the student or scholar of writing systems...C's encyclopedia does an excellent job of presenting hundreds of terms used in the analysis of writing systems...It does so... in prose of clarity that makes each entry a pleasure to read." Janet S. Smith, University of California, Davis

  • The first comprehensive reference work on writing systems and the study of writing
  • Describes more than 400 writing systems past and present
  • Includes over 500 illustrations, many never previously published
  • An essential reference for scholars throughout the Humanities and Social Sciences.